His ability to effortlessly express his ideas is what makes Digby one of my favorite writers:
The Bush administration and its neocon muses have long said that the most dangerous thing the US could do would be to give the terrorists a victory by "proving" that we don't have the ballocks to stand and fight. They firmly believe that a failure to kick ass and take names, going all the way back to Reagan and the bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut, is what caused the Islamofascists to think they could attack us. They know this because bin Laden has trash talked this line on various tapes and missives over the years so it must be true. (He wouldn't lie, would he?)This is a conversation that should have taken place in 2002 after the shock of 9/11 wore off somewhat, but instead of facing the problems head-on like true leaders, Bush and Cheney decided that it didn't matter (and still doesn't) why Al Qaeda attacked the United States. It's much easier for them to frame it as good (Christianity/democracy) vs. evil (Islam/not democracy) than it is to try to understand the true dynamics at work because they never really cared. They saw 9/11 as more than just a horrible act of war; they saw it as an opportunity to enact the neocon agenda while enriching their friends and empowering themselves.
And when they hear him saying "bring it" like big dumb bulls they see red and immediately start snorting and stomping the ground and rush headlong into some half baked scheme designed to prove that we can't be intimidated. But what if the Islamoboogeymen are actually waving their capes in front of the big, dumb United States in order to get them to do exactly that?
Basing your decisions upon your stated enemy's threats and taunts and holding fast so they can't yell "psych!" is not a foreign policy --- it's a WWF advertising campaign. It isn't real and it doesn't address any real problem. The US is the most powerful country on earth and the Islamoboogeymen are not going to take over our government and make us all wear burkas and pray to mecca. Really.
How many times have our fearless leaders told us that Islamics hate us for our freedoms? Think about that for a minute. People everywhere have pretty much the same basic needs and desires. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you plot to kill as many people as you possibly could in another country thousands of miles away simply because you don't like the books they read or the clothes they wear? Does that even make any sense? Or could there possibly be another, more logical explanation? Al Qaeda has told us exactly why they hate us, but our government totally ignores their stated justifications for obvious reasons: it shifts at least part of the blame onto them. Al Qaeda, and indeed most of the rest of the world at this point, don't hate the American people for cultural reasons (at least not enough to want to kill us all); they hate us for our government's policies. Since we're the ones who vote our government officials into power, they hate us by extension.
The intelligence community has a term for what Muslim extremists are doing: blowback. Blowback is why the Japanese attacked us in 1941 and it's why the Iranians took Americans hostage in Tehran in 1979. It's also why Al Qaeda attacks our interests throughout the world today. Ron Paul, who is an old school conservative, tried to explain this during the recent second Republican debate, and Giuliani all but branded him a traitor because Republicans can't afford to have their signature issue, The Great Global War on Terra™, questioned by rational people. Americans are way too valuable as compliant sheep who pull the correct election booth levers as directed by our strong, fearless leaders to worry our pretty little heads about boring issues like foreign policy that are way too complicated for us beer-drinking, American Idol-watching consumers to understand anyway.
Now, I am by no means condoning Al Qaeda's actions. I think Bin Laden and everyone who had anything to do with 9/11 should be hunted down, arrested, and put on trial for their crimes. If capture can't be accomplished, I have no problem with permanently entombing them in their caves or turning their homes into large craters . However it's handled, the perpetrators of 9/11 cannot go unpunished. It would be just peachy if the Bush administration shared this sentiment and cared at all about bringing public enemy #1 to justice, especially since the Commander Guy promised on more than one occasion to do exactly that, but it's clear by their actions that Bin Laden is more useful to them alive and free.
Digby shares with us how Al Qaeda is being well funded thanks to our escapades in Iraq. You could say that we are a boon for business. But this is a two way street and the Republicans, being the master marketers that they are, are well aware of it. It would be great if one of the Democratic candidates would point out the symbiotic relationship that exists between them. Al Qaeda gets new members and an influx of cash to wage their war on the infidels because our government's policies are inflaming the Muslim world. Meanwhile, Republicans get votes from scared citizens so they can maintain control of the government because they've convinced enough of us that there are Islamofascists hiding under every bed and in every closet waiting to strike, and the only way to keep your family from being murdered in some spectacularly gruesome manner is to keep voting for Republicans (even though they were in control when we were attacked and ignored numerous warnings). We're getting the short end of the stick, however. Al Qaeda is growing stronger by the day, while we're draining our precious resources on a campaign that cannot possibly end positively from our perspective, yet our leaders are so blinded by their all-consuming hunger for power that it doesn't matter to them.